Friday, June 16, 2017

Theatre: Blueprint (★★½)

Devised and performed by Jessica Russell, Phoebe Sullivan and Lewis Crofton
Sound designer and composer Rebecca Riggs-Bennett
Lighting designer Phoebe Pilcher
Until June 24

It’s hardly surprising that students from WAAPA are tempted to give their graduating year work another spin once they’re in the big bad world. This is especially true of the stream of graduates from its Performance Making course, which, as its name suggests, trains its students in the creation of work as well as its performance.
As a result, we’ve seen a couple of productions at the Blue Room recently – The Mars Project and The Remedy/What’s Love Got to do With It? – that are essentially remountings of devised pieces performed at WAAPA the previous year.
Blueprint, which was originally titled Rocketman and was performed at last September’s TILT series of short pieces from the Performance Making course’s graduating class, is the latest of these.
It’s also the closest to its original; and that, I suspect, is a problem.

Three prospective space colonists (Jessica Russell, Phoebe Sullivan and Lewis Crofton, who also devised and performed Rocketman) are preparing for the selection of crews to man a one-way expedition to parts unworldly (this is a fertile new genre that we might call Theatre of the Elon Musk – The Mars Project was another example).
Apart from getting themselves in tip-top physical shape (this, it must be said, is a very fit cast; Russell ferociously so) they have psychological tests to be scored, can-do attitudes to adopt and much information to absorb. They’re a bit like an AFL playing group doing the Leading Teams programme before the season starts.
It’s a lot for the audience to take in as well, and it comes at us full tilt and in a number of performance forms, from fairly conventional dialogue to wordless movement routines. It’s all done with energy and considerable skill, but throughout there’s a sense of “this is the stuff we can do” rather than “this is the story we’re telling”.
While Blueprint shows us what a trio of talented emerging theatre-makers can do and are capable of, we knew that already from their student work. 
As a realised, cogent piece of work, and an effective piece of story-telling, I’m afraid it was less successful.

This review first appeared in The West Australian 11.6.17

No comments:

Post a Comment